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Colorado man helps Kentucky friends, family after tornado hits

Cris French is from Dawson Springs, Kentucky. The mayor of that small town said 75% of it is now gone.

CRAIG, Colo. — A man living in Colorado said he's from Dawson Springs, Kentucky. The small town is now unrecognizable after tornadoes Friday night

Cris French found out about the tornadoes after seeing a post from a friend who said he needed help. Now, he's trying to help his friends and family back home from here in Colorado. 

"It is emotional that all this happens in a split second," French said. 

French lives in Craig, Colorado, but Dawson Springs, Kentucky is where he calls home. He said everyone from his family is safe, but the tornadoes killed some of his friends. 

A town of fewer than 2,500 people was replaced with chaos. The mayor of Dawson Springs believes 75% of it is now gone.

"People are sleeping at other strangers' houses or homes. Churches are full. Schools are full," French said. 

From hundreds of miles away, French is still trying to find ways to help. 

"I've offered my classmate, if they need a place for up to a year, I'm sure me and my wife could make arrangements," he said. 

This type of kindness is helping families heal after losing everything. 

The home of a Navy veteran in Dawson Springs was leveled by the tornado. A lifetime of memories is now rubble. His daughter, Misti Gibson, was helping her dad comb through the pieces of his home to help him find items that can't be replaced. 

After several days, they finally found the Purple Heart awarded to a family member years ago. 

"There are memories attached to things that you can't get those things back," she said. 

French plans to make a trip back home to Kentucky after the new year. Until then, he will continue to help family and friends from Colorado. 

On Facebook, there is now a page to help people find items that were lost in the tornadoes. People are posting about family photos and handwritten cards that were thrown onto their property. The hope is that they can return those precious items to the original owner.